Everybody Gets a 100th Birthday Sometime

I am not much given to commemorating accidents of the calendar – anniversaries, centenaries, and so on – but given my history with the subject, I would be remiss, I think, if I failed to note that Conlon Nancarrow was born a hundred years ago today. Next weekend I will be in Berkeley for the Nancarrow at 100 conference/festival being presented by Other Minds. I have been interviewed frequently these last few months for radio programs and newspaper articles on Cage and Nancarrow, and I haven’t received many of the URLs at which those interviews ended up; perhaps you’ve heard or read a couple of them. Most recently composer/critic Andrew Ford interviewed me for an Australian radio program on Nancarrow that was supposed to air yesterday or today, whichever it is down there. I don’t really have much to say about Nancarrow that wasn’t in my book on him, but, as I did in London in April, I suppose I’ll play my edited versions of a few of the “unknown” rolls found unlabeled in his studio. He was – in case anyone missed the point – an amazing man.



  1. says

    I remember my first encounter with Nancarrow’s music on a 7″ sampler record that came bundled with my copy of Switched on Bach. It was a sampling of excerpts from David Behrman’s “Music of Our Time” series on Columbia records. It included selections from Berio’s Sinfonia, a Jacques Lasry sound sculpture, Steve Reich’s “Violin Phase” along with a couple of Nancarrow’s Player Piano Studies. That little record got a lot of curious listens by me and my brother.

    I eventually bought pretty much every Nancarrow recording I could find. And I look forward to hearing you talk at next weekend’s Nancarrow Centennial in Berkeley. Sorry to hear you won’t be present for tonight’s Nancarrow event at the piano store (also in Berkeley). I am pleased to see this important composer get some deserved recognition.

    KG replies: Hm, never knew about the 7-inch sampler.

    • says

      @perkustooth I can’t find any store called “The Piano Store” in Berkeley. The two piano stores I can find don’t mention anything about a Nancarrow event. So what are you referring to?

      I do know about the events at CalPerformances, and will go to some.